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September 2009
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CityLink Seattle

Theater Commons at Seattle Center

A new project to green and beautify a Seattle Center entry point at the north end of the campus will begin this month.  Theater Commons, an early project of the Seattle Center Century 21 Master Plan, will occupy a space that has served as a parking area between the Seattle Repertory and Intiman Theatres.

The Commons responds to calls from the community for more open space and less asphalt to accommodate pedestrian uses of the grounds. The area is the only surface lot left on the campus, the last of six to transition from asphalt to other uses as part of a long-term effort to transition Seattle Center away from surface lots to integrated, accessible, consolidated garage parking along the perimiater of the campus.

Mercer, 1st Ave North and 5th Ave N Garages all provide special accommodations for the visitors with disabilities that together serve the entire campus.  There are ADA-designated spaces in Mercer Garage close to the garage skybridge that crosses over Mercer Street, where an elevator takes patrons to the promenade level for campus access to performance venues and other campus desintations. There are accessible drop-off zones directly in front of the Intiman and Seattle Repertory Theatre along Mercer Street.  The theaters are working closely with their patrons who have specific needs beyond what Seattle Center garages can accommodate to determine how those needs can be met.

Seattle Center has received public attention in response to our efforts to inform theater patrons of the accessible parking changes and we appreciate the input we have received.  We will use it to help us to better serve disabled patron needs in the future.

Following is information on the project design and objectives:

Theater Commons at Seattle Center
Opening May 2010

Seattle Center is partnering with Seattle Repertory Theatre and Intiman Theatre to turn a surface parking area located between their two buildings into a lush, landscaped space.  It will be called Theater Commons at Seattle Center and will house the Donnelly Gardens in memory of arts leader Peter Donnelly.

Theater Commons will transform the one and one-half-acre area into a green, inviting Seattle Center entry. The new space, designed sustainably as a demonstration site for new materials, will serve to reinforce the identities of the two theaters, offering a mix of native plants and regionally adapted vegetation along terraced surfaces creatively lit in the evenings to evoke a moonlit garden.  On-site raingardens will retain roof and site water run-off. Permeable pavers, trees and energy efficient streetlights will accommodate greater pedestrian movement through the space.  

Theater Commons is a first-phase project of the Seattle Center Century 21 Master Plan, which calls for major campus redevelopment.  Construction will begin in September 2009, with completion by May 2010.

Theater Commons at Seattle Center fulfills a vision of creating a legible, welcoming north entry that sets the context and tone for a pleasing visitor experience at Seattle Center and the north entry theaters. 

A major grant by the Kreielsheimer Foundation, matched by City of Seattle and private funding, made this project possible. If you have questions or comments about Theater Commons at Seattle Center, please call 206.684.7117.

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